Over the Rainbow

5 Star Route / Ridden and Reviewed by Gravel Girl & Captain ‘O

Imagine the ruby-slipper-wearing Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz singing “Somewhere over the rainbow.” Well, over the rainbow is where you are headed on this ride: over the Rainbow Market, a place known for its own cultural experience.

Ride Details
This ride starts at the Flight Museum in Madras which is officially called the Erickson Aircraft Collection. (Yes, we have permission to park here and leave a car.)

The ride heads south for a short bit on paved roads, then meanders through double track gravel evolving into an old railroad grade from the turn of the 19th century. This canyon is just Wild West beautiful. **Click to Read More

Adventure / Gravel Route

– Loop : 42 miles / 1900 ft gain
– Surface: ~ 9% gravel road, 27% double track, 6% single track, 58% paved
eBike Friendly: No
– Location: Madras, OR
– Course by: Gravel Girl
– Published: April 2018 (updated October 2019)


Advanced. Due to the 16+ miles of single track / double track, the short but steep climb out of Trout Creek Ranch where the grade exceeds 15% for 0.5+ miles, and the two bike carries over cattle control barriers / fences.

When we like to ride this …

The route offers up spectacular beauty most of the year and it “goes” as long as the conditions are relatively dry. See the dates of the comments below for when it is rideable. We would avoid it in the heat of the summer.

The Start

Erickson Aircraft Collection / Museum. Park in the dirt lot on the north side of the building. Flush toilets and water.
Lat / Long: 44.671074, -121.149324

Food / Water

@ mile 10, Fraser’s Market (seasonal) / @ mile 16, Rainbow Market


Cue Sheet / GPX FileTCX File


Red = paved road
Brown = gravel road / dirt road / double track
Blue = single track

For help with GPS files, the RideWithGPs mapping app and to learn how to download our routes for free, see the “Using Our Rides” page.

  • KevinE says:

    As of March 2020 the goat heads are still bad. Not quite as bad as the summer of 2019, but still bad. Come prepared!!

  • KevinE says:

    I have ridden this course 9 times now. Today was the worst, by far the worst, that I have seen the “goat heads”. It was a section of 1 to 2 miles, on the double track along the river. At times, my tire had 50 “goat heads” in it. The trick: don’t pull them out, keep moving, let the sealant do its job. If you loose air keep riding for a while until you must put air in the tire. Tubeless is a must on this route.

    However, I will still continue to do this route. It is just too good to pass on!

  • Dan Wolnick says:

    If the wind is blowing hard from the south, I’d recommend doing this route backwards. We thought of that afterwards, of course!

  • Alex says:

    Super-fun route – thanks for posting it! Just rode it today and conditions were great. We even had a nice tailwind for the last 7 miles or so as we headed south to the start

  • Andrew says:

    The rocky single track along the river and the rocky double track in the canyon section just after the museum make this route suited well for 40c or larger and tubeless tires. That said, it’s a beautiful route, some nice climbing but nothing to sustained. The road sections are remote and we probably saw less than a dozen cars. We started and finished the route at Mecca Flats Rec Area, where we were camping, instead of at the Air Museum.

  • Vince Sikorski says:

    We did not flat when we rode it, but couple days later noticed that our tandem had a flat front tire. Found 2 goat heads and added 2 patches to our tube. So, there are goat heads, but not as bad as described above. I am considering switching our tandem to tubeless rims.

  • Steve Klarquist says:

    Dear Linda,
    My fly fishing friends and I used to camp at Trout Creek often and use our mountain bikes to access the river up stream from Trout Creek – the stretch you are riding. This was in the late 80s and 90s. There are a LOT of “goats head” thorns along this stretch, or at least there were. We would literally have dozens of thorns in our tires after each ride. We used self-sealing tubes and plastic strips called “toughies” between the tire and tube to prevent flats. So I would suggest that tubeless tires are a must. Maybe everyone has them now, but there may be a gravel rider who does not. Perhaps the thorn problem has abated or is not as bad this time of year. But that was my experience. That said, it’s beautiful and the concept of doing it as a gravel ride rather than just fishing access is brilliant.

    On one occasion, we came across two state police who thought they would patrol this stretch on their mountain bikes. They were both pushing their bikes, both with two flats.

    It looks like you’ll be riding on Hwy 26, not 97.

    Have a great ride.

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